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Aviation Trader (Engineering) Ltd (ATL)

Formed at Bovingdon, Herts, UK, in 1947 to sell aircraft and spares. In 1949 acquired a base at Southend, Essex, to maintain aircraft on Berlin Airlift. During 1952-1955 ATL built Bristol Freighter center-sections. Sold about 20 civil Percival Prentices. Conversion of the 20-year-old Douglas DC-4 into a cheap car-ferry first considered January 1959; called Carvair, and the aircraft first flew in June 1961; 21 built. Less successful was company's own medium-range airliner, the Accountant, with two Rolls-Royce Dart turboprops, flown July 1957 and backed by managing director F. A. Laker.


On 1 Sept 1966, this company has its headquarters at Southend Airport. Other operating bases were Stansted, Gatwick, Lydd and Croydon.

Aviation Traders was part of the Air Holdings complex and the chairman was Sir Miles Wyatt. Total employees were 2110, more than half of them being at Southend. Production facilities total 450,000 sq.ft, of which Southend was the largest with 170,000 sq.ft and Gatwick close to it at 127,500 sq.ft.

The main sources of revenue for this company was the maintenance and conversion of aircraft and overhaul of components for BUA, Caledonian Airways, Lloyd International Airways and Transglobe Airways, other work being done on an ad hoe basis. This accounted for about 90 per cent of the revenue; the balance coming from the manufacture of freight doors, cargo elevators and aircraft seats.

Going through the shops in 1966 was the 23rd-Carvair conversion. Development included the Mk. 12 Hylo cargo elevator which could be broken down for air carriage.


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